The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 18

Gramma/Personal Demons/Cold Reading (14 Feb. 1986)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 130 users  
Reviews: 5 user

In "Personal Demons", a blocked writer copes with destructive black-clad creatures that can only be seen by him. In "Cold Reading", an understudy copes with radio director Nelson Westbrook's insistence on real sound effects.


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Title: Gramma/Personal Demons/Cold Reading (14 Feb 1986)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Georgie (segment "Gramma")
Mom (segment "Gramma")
Frederick Long ...
Gramma (segment "Gramma")
Rockne S. O'Bannon (segment "Personal Demons")
Agent (segment "Personal Demons")
Joshua Shelley ...
Herman Gold (segment "Personal Demons")
Tommy Madden ...
Creature #1 (segment "Personal Demons")
Marlena Giovi ...
Widow (segment "Personal Demons")
Penny Baker ...
Pam (segment "Personal Demons")
Stephen Flanigan ...
Harry (Segment "Personal Demons")
Billy Curtis ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")
Gary Friedkin ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")
Kevin Thompson ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")
Daniel Frishman ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons") (as Dan Frishman)
Lou Carry ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")


In GRAMMA, a long-standing family tradition is passed to the next generation when young George looks after his invalid grandmother during his mother's absence. Blocked hack writer Rockne O'Bannon is plagued by destructive PERSONAL DEMONS that only he can see. During the heyday of radio, a director plans a COLD READING of a play with authentic special effects. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

14 February 1986 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The segment "Personal Demons", written by Rockne S. O'Bannon, depicts O'Bannon as a dried-up writer near the end of his career, as played by Martin Balsam. O'Bannon was only 31 at the time the program aired; far from being "dried-up", he went on to script other TV shows, and created the film Alien Nation (1988) and the subsequent TV series Alien Nation (1989), and the series SeaQuest 2032 (1993) and Farscape (1999). See more »


Version of Mercy (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Demon genes passed down to grandson?/Writers guilt/Radio special effects.
11 February 2008 | by (Petersburg, Virginia) – See all my reviews

Episode 18 of "The New Twilight Zone" from the 1985-86 CBS series featured three segments "Gramma", "Personal Demons", and "Cold Reading".

"Gramma" based on a short story from legendary horror novelist Stephen King features a young boy who's left at home to care for his ill and old grandmother. Oddly and strangely she stays at the end of a shuttered room at the end of the hall. Soon strange sounds, voices, wind, and spooks start to occur to the little boy. Finally he finds out a big surprise about grandma, and when mom returns though the boy has made it you can tell by his eyes an old family tradition has been passed on.

"Personal Demons" has Rockne O' Bannon(Martin Balsam) as a washed up and struggling old TV show writer who's searching for new ideas and stories to get over this latest case of writer's block. Ideas and haunted memories soon appear thru little men that look demon like, has the imagination gotten the best of him? Yet it appears these little guys have put a spark in his imagination for new writing ideas.

"Cold Reading" takes place in an age before the golden age of TV, when radio was king as people depended on it for their entertainment. As great plays are read over the airwaves like "Dick Noble", "African Explorer" it starts to invoke powers over the air as in the studio it's a special effects delight as the radio got a glimpse into the future of the TV age and it's way of entertainment.

Overall one of the better episodes of "The New Twilight Zone".

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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